Gloves: hand warming, finger snuggling, dividers of opinion. If you’re one of those purists that think that gloves are cheating, you’d better look away now, for you are far too hashtag authentic, strong and hardcore to be wasting your time with a GLOVE REVIEW.
Winter is rather heavily upon us, and if you fancy having at least some of your skin and at least 50% function in your hands after a race, you’ll probably be after a pair of gloves that keeps you warm, maintains your dexterity and aids your grip. Now I’m going to save you some heartbreak and tell you now, that that pair of gloves does not exist.
There are, however, gloves that can do some of those things. You cannot have it all, but goddamnit, you can have at least 60% of it.
Toughest Get a Grip
After extensive dabbling, I can say that the best OCR gloves out there are Toughest’s grip gloves. Now, this isn’t going to help you right now, because they’re all but sold out except for the big sizes. But keep checking back at Mudstacle for a new stock drop. In the meantime, let me talk to you about these gloves.
They look like goalie gloves, and they start off a bit stiff, but wear in relatively quickly. They also have Velcro fastenings, so stay on where other gloves may slide around. They’re popping up on some seriously talented OCR athletes, and for very good reason.
They afford brilliant grip on wood, cargo nets, ladders, and even monkey bars (although I usually take mine off for this). The one thing I do not like them for is the rope climb – I prefer to have bare hands because you do get a better grip and more dexterity.
They still perform when wet, in fact, they help a lot when wooden obstacles get slimey.
The negatives? They don’t keep your hands particularly warm, and they do not afford protection from blisters, as I have found out on a pretty serious testing session at wild forest gym. They get slippy if they are caked in clay mud, but will wipe clean fairly easily.
They are, though, the best all rounders for what you come up against on obstacle courses.
8/10 – The closest thing you can get to perfect right now
If you want some protection or extra grip on ropes, Madgrip is what you’re looking for. The rubbery palms stick fast to metal and rope in particular. I have a lot of trust in these if I have to climb a particularly wet or dirty rope.
Unfortunately these grips are hard to come by in small sizes. I got my special pink ladypair from Amazon, and the sizing was odd to say the least. I got over the strange finger lengths by cutting the tips off and turning them into fingerless gloves. They also do have a tendency to slip at the palm because you can’t secure them at the wrist.
6.5/10 – Grippy but not totally trusty
I think these sorts of gloves are suited to summer things with fairly tame obstacles, like a wolf run or x runner. The rubber bits on the palm do afford some amount of grip, and the fact that they are thin means that you do retain a lot of dexterity and grip strength. They aren’t a protective glove, but if you’re looking for a lightweight grip enhancement, and you’re not planning on getting soaking wet, these are fairly handy to have in your bag.
6/10 – Just a little lightweight boost
Yet another glove company that can’t quite seem to get their heads around the fact that women would like some heavy duty gloves too, Black OPS sizing also comes up pretty large. I wear a 6.5 in gloves, and was swamped by them.
They also feel so incredibly weird. My hands felt heavy and cocooned in them, and running for long periods of time in them is uncomfortably, sweaty and hot. This makes them impractical because I want to be able to take my gloves off if my hands overheat, and there’s no way you’re getting these bad boys on and off in a hurry.
Also, once they split, you’re buggered. Emphatically not the one.
3/10 – Just plain weird
Gul 3mm Neoprene Power
Once it gets seriously watery and wintery out there, you’ll probably want to switch to neoprene gloves. They keep you warm, and if you find the right pair, they can also afford you some sticky grip. Unfortunately, whilst these do keep you warm, the seams are uncomfortably chafey-and the grip disappears when wet.
4/10 – Keep you warm, but that’s about it.
O’Neill FLX 2mm Neoprene
The don of neoprene gloves – these provide the best compromise between grip and warmth. The pads on the palms and fingers are sticky. They *do* flail a bit when muddy, but they are by far and away the best gripping neoprene gloves I have come across.
They don’t have seams that cut into you like other brands, and they allow you to maintain some flexibility. Definitely the glove of choice for brutal courses such as Nuts. I’m not sure they help out so much with wet/slippy monkey bars, but they’re very protective on wooden structures.
7/10 – Warm, grippy, and certainly the best affordable neoprene glove